The conviction of notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has not put a dent in the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel, NBC News reported.
The news outlet said experts see the conviction more “moral victory” than a win over the illegal drug empire.
"The conviction of Chapo Guzmán was a great moral victory because it subjected him to the rule of law," Mike Vigil, the former chief of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration, told NBC News. "The conviction though has done nothing to impact the Sinaloa cartel because it remains the most powerful cartel in Mexico."
Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a professor of policy and government at the George Mason University in Fairfax County, Virginia, told NBC News the Mexican strategy of going after notorious "kingpins" has only increased the violence by splintering cartels that then fight over territory.
"We have had so many narcos dead or arrested and extradited to the United States, and what are the implications of that? None," she told the news outlet.
Vigil added the variation in criminal activity makes the cartel "very resilient to law enforcement efforts because if they take a major hit, they’re still generating so much money," Vigil said.
Correa-Cabrera said while Mexican government or law enforcement officials are implicated in the U.S. trials of drug lords like Guzman, there’s been a lack of follow-through investigations by Mexican authorities.
NBC News, citing a report, said 2018 was the deadliest on record for Mexico with more than 33,300 murders, a 15 percent increase from 2017.